How to stare at the starry sphere:
- First, you must build a simple sextant. Follow the instructions given here (courtesy of NASA). File downloaded from:
Or, if you feel adventurous, you can rely on a Davis Mark 3 sextant from here. It provides a decent accuracy of 2 arc-minutes.
- Second, you will need a compass with a magnifying glass. These days, I use a Konustrek.
- Third, check the weather report, looking for clear skies during the night.
Now, that you are geared up to achieve great things, it’s time for coordinates:
- Use the above interactive chart to obtain the horizontal coordinate (or azimuth) and the vertical coordinate (or altitude) of the heavenly body which you would like to discover in the sky.
- Don’t forget to subtract circa 4.5 degrees (from N toward E) to compensate for the magnetic declination on your compass.
The final step is to position yourself:
- Horizontally, rotate the compass until it shows the desired azimuth and face toward that direction.
- Vertically, by the means of the sextant, decide how high you should look up in the sky.